chapter  7
10 Pages

Learning Theories Maggie Ing

To plan a curriculum, it is necessary to have some 'theory' of how learning takes place and which conditions make for the most efficient learning. Psychological theories of learning may, at least, make explicit the implicit notions embedded in the actual practice of teachers. What you find in most textbooks of psychology under the heading of learning theories', however, does not give immediate guidance for teachers. This is partly because the task of the learning theorist is not the same as the task of the teacher. In the scientific tradition, a theory seeks to explain the maximum number of phenomena with the minimum number of laws', a particularly difficult task in the face of the complexity of human consciousness and behaviour. As teachers, we may not be concerned with exactly what learning is, nor with the neurophysiological aspects of learning; and we are concerned with the differences among our students at least as much as with their similarities. We must expect to find in psychological theories much that does not help us directly. What we can find, I think, is a more systematic picture of learning processes and of the conditions most favourable to learning.